Players and owners ready to drop the gloves

Players and owners ready to drop the gloves
December 2, 2012, 10:15 pm
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Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, left, of Russia , joins team majority owner Ted Leonsis, right, during a news conference that announced that the Capitals have signed Ovechkin to a 13-year contract, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008, in Washington.

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

So the NHL has decided to move on to Plan C.

After Gary Bettman and Don Fehr had no luck resolving the NHL’s labor dispute; and federal mediators struck out after just two days, the players and owners are going to sit down face-to-face and try to resolve their differences.

“We have confirmed with the Union that we will attempt to schedule a Players/Owners-only meeting for some time on Tuesday afternoon in New York,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement Sunday night.

“No further details have been confirmed at this point. We expect the
following NHL Owners to attend: Ron Burkle [Pittsburgh Penguins], Mark
Chipman [Winnipeg Jets], Murray Edwards [Calgary Flames], Jeremy Jacobs
[Boston Bruins], Larry Tanenbaum [Toronto Maple Leafs] and Jeff Vinik
[Tampa Bay Lightning].  We will provide further details when available and as appropriate.”

Fehr issued his own statement on the meeting, which was suggested by Bettman on Friday after federal mediators said they could not settle the issues that divided the league and its players.

"The NHLPA has agreed to a meeting on Tuesday in New York that should facilitate dialogue between Players and Owners.  Neither the Commissioner nor I will be present, although each side will have a limited number of staff or counsel present. 

“There will be Owners attending this meeting who have not previously done so, which is encouraging and which we welcome.  We hope that this meeting will be constructive and lead to a dialogue that will help us find a way to reach an agreement.”

In the previous negotiating sessions between the league and its players, the NHL’s negotiating committee consisted of Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, Calgary Flames owner N. Murray Edwards and Jacobs. Of those four only Jacobs will be attending Tuesday’s meeting.

Players are hopeful that by adding big-market owners like Larry Tanenbaum [Maple Leafs], they can gain a better perspective on the NHL’s theories on revenue sharing.

According to a recent Forbes report, The Maple Leafs took in $81.9 million in revenue in 2012 and are the first NHL team to be valued at $1 billion. By comparison, the Phoenix Coyotes lost $20.6 million and are valued at $134 million.

Will Tuesday’s meeting break the stalemate? Probably not. But it sure would be fun to be a fly on that wall.